72. Map Showing Construction Progress of the Illinois State Highway System (1925)
Background: The introduction of automobiles necessitated an improved highway system in Illinois. While the General Assembly passed the first "hard road" law in 1883 before the invention of the automobile, the act proved ineffective. No other significant legislative action occurred until the creation of the State Highway Commission in 1905. That commission's work culminated in the "Tice Law" of 1913 (named after its sponsor, Representative Homer Tice of Greenview). Its provisions included the creation of a State Highway Department (which became part of the Department of Public Works and Buildings in 1917) and state aid for local road construction. Federal construction matching funds were first provided in 1916. In 1918, Illinois voters approved a $60 million bond issuance to finance 4,800 miles of hard road state highways, with routes numbered 1 to 46. An additional $100 million in bonds was approved in 1924.
The Document: This map was prepared by the Division of Highways of the Department of Public Works and Buildings. It depicts the construction status (as of April 1, 1925) on the forty-six state highways authorized in 1918. Each highway is sketched, and major communities indicated along each route. The highways are depicted in double lines; one line lists the section number assigned to segments of each route, and the other marks the construction status in each highway section. The map occasionally shows key county highways. All counties were served by at least one state highway. The state routes were supplemented, and sometimes replaced, by the introduction of the U.S. Highway System in 1926, and few of the forty-six highway numbers authorized by the 1918 bond issuance remain on their original routes.
Note: The Department of Public Works and Buildings was dissolved in 1972 and its Division of Highways was transferred to the newly formed Illinois Department of Transportation. A photographic negative of this construction map is available at the Illinois State Archives as part of Department of Transportation Record Series 242.001, "Highway Projects Photographs and Negatives."